If you are one of those types that spends your winter on the mountain, yet spends the warmer months adventuring elsewhere, it might surprise you to find out just how much goes on up here. Here are two examples of a day a family might experience this summer (Feel free to steal my ideas!)
Mountain Day for the Young Family
For families with kids 6 and younger, this day is fun for all (itinerary based on two adults and two kids).
10:30 a.m. Arrive at the Base Lodge and pick up an Alpine Slide 4-pack, FREE 4-pack for kids under 48 inches, a Summer Tubing 6-pack, two Strider Bike passes, two adult Scenic Lift Tickets and two FREE kids’ Scenic Lift Tickets. OR, order all of this online in advance and stop in the Base Lodge to pick them up!
10:45 a.m. Ride Chair 6 up to the top of the Alpine Slides, team up in your parent and kid pairs then divide and conquer the two Alpine Slides—either Forest or Meadow. Race to the bottom. Ride Chair 6 back up and repeat, switching tracks for a different ride. Ride Chair 6 up again.
Noon *NOTE* this is a guesstimate, times may vary based upon wait times and how fast you go on the Alpine Slides—speed is controlled by the driver and heavily influenced by the passenger who, nine times out of 10, wants to go faster, faster, faster!
12 p.m. (cont.) Ride the Scenic Lift. Choose from either a Gondola (fully enclosed) or an open chair, whichever is most comfortable for your family. For younger, “active” types I’d go Gondola. Enjoy the views on a 15 minute ride to the summit.
12:15 p.m. Go into the Summit House to grab snacks and/or lunch. Everything on the menu this summer is packed to go with napkins, utensils, and condiments. Kids love the “On-the-Trail Snack Pack” that comes with Chex Mix (with peanuts), hardboiled egg, cubed cheese and grapes. They also like Yogurt Parfait and the Melon Cups. Of course there’s always PB & J and chips. Eat inside, on the Summit House Deck, or walk for a bit and have a picnic. (If you pack it in, please pack it out!)
Although the Summit Nature Center is currently not open, US Forest Rangers are roving the mountain, if you see one, wave them down and bombard them with questions (they love that).
Afternoon (time TBD) p.m. Ride the Scenic Lift down, then ride Chair 6 down to the Base Lodge patio. Head to the Summer Tubing hill. Parents may need to help the kids hold their tubes on the Big Easy Carpet ride up however, they can ride their own tube down. (One parent may sneak away at this point to order a couple beers from the Base Lodge Bar and score a table on the patio.)
Aftertube (time TBD) p.m. Let the kids cruise around the Strider Bike Park while you toast a day well-played from your table on the patio.
Mountain Day for the Adventurous Family
For families with kids age 7 and older, we have a number of adventures the entire family can do together.
10 a.m. Arrive at the Base Lodge to schedule your session in the Aerial Adventure Park (hint: book in advance online to pick your desired time.) After signing in, get outfitted in a climbing harness, and after a brief training, head up to the park and choose from five courses ranked easy (Yellow Course) to really hard (Black Course). Test your strength, balance and courage as you face a variety of obstacles that lead you from tree to tree. Be aware that some kids master obstacles faster than their parents (moments they will not let their parents forget).
12:30 p.m. Likely you are starving by now and you earned it. Luckily there are burgers and sandwiches and more right there in the Base Lodge. Order food, rehydrate and fuel up for your next adventure.
1:30 p.m. Head back to the second floor of the Base Lodge and check-in for your Zip Line Tour. Meet the two guides who will instruct you on safety, lead you on the tour and share their best bad jokes.
2 p.m. Fly above the trees and ski slopes on six breathtaking zip lines flying up to 300 feet off the ground. Bond with your family while making friendly bets about who can beat who across each side-by-side zip span.
4 p.m. Return to the Base Lodge for huckleberry ice cream from the Base Lodge Coffee Bar, or the adults can have an adult beverage from the Base Lodge Bar.
Another option—if yours is a biking family—is to combine one of the above with a few laps in the Whitefish Bike Park, or take a lesson as a family. Or combine with half day of hiking the mountain.
So many options! Good thing we’re here all summer long!